There isn’t anything that suggests Tottenham Hotspur are close to the signing of Middlesbrough wing back Djed Spence, but it does appear as though they’re becoming more and more confident that they’ll be able to do so. Scott Wilson, writing in the Northern Echo, says that Tottenham are winning the battle for Spence’s signature, and notes that it could take a bid of as high as £15m to land him from Boro.
Spence spent the season on loan at Nottingham Forest and was a key first team member, helping take Forest to the Premier League via the Championship playoff. Previous reports said that Forest were extremely keen on bringing Spence in permanently — obviously — and that Spence might actually consider signing with Forest over Spurs. But while both Spurs and Forest can offer Spence plenty of Premier League minutes, Spurs has the advantage of Champions League football next season, and can likely offer a larger transfer fee if it comes right down to it.
More, Forest appears to be looking at other right sided defensive players, including Manchester City youngster Issa Kabore, who spent the season on loan at Troyes. That suggests there’s an understanding that if Spurs are serious about Spence, it’s unlikely that Forest are going to be able to do much about it.
Scott Wilson is the chief football correspondent for the Northern Echo, and often these smaller regional papers are as, if not more, reliable outlets than the major national papers, especially with regards to transfer rumors in their area. Wilson writes that Boro is ready to cash in on Spence and really doesn’t care who pays, so long as they can maximize his transfer fee. That likely gives Spurs and advantage, and Wilson says that Tottenham manager Antonio Conte views Spence as one of his primary targets this summer, instructing Fabio Paratici to sign him “whatever the cost.”
I’ve said before that while I’ve not been extraordinarily impressed with Spence in the times I’ve seen him play, I’m more than willing to defer any criticism of this signing if he’s a player that Conte wants. That sure seems to be the case. Possibly Conte sees Spence’s physical tools (and he has plenty in his bag) and sees him as a young player he can develop into an outstanding wing back in his system. Spurs have yet to make a formal bid, but who knows — that may change over the next couple of weeks as Conte pushes to have his major transfer signings completed in time for preseason. After all, the window isn’t even open yet.